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November 22, 2016 by Peter Hobb

6 steps to improve strategy execution

Companies attempting to develop realistic, achievable strategies – and execute them – often rely on SWOT analysis: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. You want to mitigate your threats and take advantage of your opportunities, leverage your strengths and improve your weaknesses. Once you have identified those, you will make far greater progress toward defining your strategies. However, simply defining your strategies is only the first step. You also need to take measures to help your team execute on those strategies. Here are six steps to ensure that your strategies succeed.

1. Set realistic, measurable goals

When developing your strategies, be sure to run them by the people that are involved in your day-to-day business. These people are in the best position to let you know how realistic the strategies are. It is also important that you make these strategies measurable, as this gives you a chance to monitor your progress and make adjustments before it’s too late – if the strategy isn’t working. If there’s no way to measure your progress, it’s unlikely that the strategies will ever be implemented.

2. Increase accountability

Before starting, you need to outline how the goals you seek to achieve will be accomplished, when they need to be completed by and when the project is going to be implemented. Then, no matter who is working on each task, they need to report to somebody who can make judgments and adjustments that maximize accountability. This applies to everyone, even the leaders at your company or organization.

3. Prioritize your workload

With day-to-day obligations taking priority in your mind, you’ve got to set aside time for new strategic objectives. That’s why it’s so important to have deadlines and timelines that are being monitored. If no one’s holding you accountable, you will soon find that something else is always more pressing. One of the reasons you’re initiating a new strategy is that it’s a better way of doing things, one that will increase profitability and make it easier to do your job.

4. Communicate the value of change

It’s not enough to tell people that they need to do things differently. You also need to explain why you’re making these changes and how they will benefit the business. If your team doesn’t understand this, they’re not going to have the drive or understanding necessary to achieve the best results. When they are onboard with the plan, their commitment will be far more apparent.

5. Learn to juggle conflicting objectives

In strategic planning meetings, you have to sift through a variety of ideas and identify a priority to focus on. If you try to focus on too many things at the same time, you’ll be torn between them, making it difficult to accomplish anything. Focus on one overarching goal at a time, get that done and move on to the next thing. In many cases, we suggest focusing on low-hanging fruit. Changes that are easy to implement spur motivation because you see results.

6. Show your commitment

When people sense that their leaders aren’t fully committed, they will have a harder time making the effort necessary to get results. If it doesn’t seem important to you, why would it seem important to them? Making it clear that you’re on board and committed to a successful result makes a significant difference.

Peter Hobb, CPA, CA, CFP, is a partner at Collins Barrow Durham LLP. Focused on service excellence, he works closely with clients to grow the profitability of their businesses.

Meet the Author

Peter Hobb Peter Hobb
Courtice, Ontario
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